Can pilates improve posture & help prevent backache ?

Pilates

Pilates is a mind body intervention that focuses on core stability, posture, flexibility, strength, breathing and movement control. Pilates focus on posture and the control of body positions that is why Pilates is great for improving posture and giving long lasting relief from postural neck and back pains and strains.

We have been encouraged to stand up straight, sit straight and hold good postures since childhood. We have slumped, slouched or stooped back into our old position and habits. To maintain a good, upright, tall posture body has to fight against gravity. Fatigue of these anti-gravity postural muscles lead to back and neck pain along with poor posture.

Effectiveness of Pilates in correcting and improving the posture depends on the muscle’s optimal length-tension relationship. Pilates based exercises have been shown to promote changes in the habitual poor posture by enhancing spinal, scapular and joint flexibility and strengthening shoulder, lower back and abdominal musculature. Some studies show that physically active people have less chance of developing kyphosis, scoliosis compared to sedentary people. The Pilates method is effective in reinforcing efficient movement patterns and strengthening, which lead a good posture and decreases chances to develop neck and back. Pilates method effectively and efficiently works in persistent low back ache; apart of back pain, its benefits include improvement in strength, motor control, endurance, reduction in body fat percentage, fat mass and blood pressure.

Pilates exercises for back pain include core strengthening, good body alignment, gentle stretches for tight back and lower extremity musculatures, deep breathing exercises, back and shoulder strengthening, symmetry and balance.

Pilates is highly popular due to the way the exercises involved work to strengthen the core postural muscles, which are essential to supporting the spine. The principles of Pilates and some of the key focus areas are:

  • Using mental focus to improve movement, efficiency and muscle control
  • Teaching awareness of proper spine alignment
  • Creating length, strength and flexibility in muscles
  • Mat exercises are effective for patients who suffer from uncomfortable spine symptoms and conditions
  • Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the trunk and hip muscles and increasing the flexibility of the spine and hips. They work well in combination with yoga exercises geared toward reducing back pain and improving posture.

DR. SKY SHARMA (PT)